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Thread: Hell Freezes Over, Apple Admits Locationgate Went Too Far (Kind of)

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Apple issued a formal response to the Locationgate/iMhere/iGiveupNamingThisThing scandal this morning, admitting the storing of the location cache went too far and the "bug" will be fixed in an upcoming
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  1. #1
    MMi Staff Writer Phillip Swanson's Avatar
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    Default Hell Freezes Over, Apple Admits Locationgate Went Too Far (Kind of)


    Apple issued a formal response to the Locationgate/iMhere/iGiveupNamingThisThing scandal this morning, admitting the storing of the location cache went too far and the "bug" will be fixed in an upcoming software update. Well it wasn't an outright admission.

    The reason the iPhone stores so much data is a bug we uncovered and plan to fix shortly (see Software Update section below). We don't think the iPhone needs to store more than seven days of this data.(Apple)
    This is Apple after all, and this is as close as we'll get to them saying "We #$^#@& up."

    The press release opens with a blanket statement that seems to absolve Apple of all guilt.

    1. Why is Apple tracking the location of my iPhone?
    Apple is not tracking the location of your iPhone. Apple has never done so and has no plans to ever do so.
    This has of course been proven false. This "bug" only became a "bug" when it became headlines and common knowledge amongst most Americans who don't live in caves.

    According to Apple, the location data that your iPhone has been tracking is the location of wifi hotspots and cell towers around your iPhone, some as far away as 100 miles (cell towers not wifi hotspots). This is then used to "to help your iPhone rapidly and accurately calculate its location when requested." Sounds like they know my location to me...

    Still, this faq goes a long way in showing that Apple knows it flubbed up, even if it never outright says it. Apple explains that none of the data was being stored on their end and was sent back to them "in an anonymous and encrypted form."

    The pending software update will cease the backing up of the location services data, reduce the size of the data, and cease to record the data when location services is turned off.

    Here is the entire press release. Now proceed to pat yourself on the back. A job well done consumers, your privacy and opinions still matter. Sort of.

    Apple Q&A on Location Data

    CUPERTINO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Apple would like to respond to the questions we have recently received about the gathering and use of location information by our devices.

    1. Why is Apple tracking the location of my iPhone?
    Apple is not tracking the location of your iPhone. Apple has never done so and has no plans to ever do so.

    2. Then why is everyone so concerned about this?
    Providing mobile users with fast and accurate location information while preserving their security and privacy has raised some very complex technical issues which are hard to communicate in a soundbite. Users are confused, partly because the creators of this new technology (including Apple) have not provided enough education about these issues to date.

    3. Why is my iPhone logging my location?
    The iPhone is not logging your location. Rather, it's maintaining a database of Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers around your current location, some of which may be located more than one hundred miles away from your iPhone, to help your iPhone rapidly and accurately calculate its location when requested. Calculating a phone's location using just GPS satellite data can take up to several minutes. iPhone can reduce this time to just a few seconds by using Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower data to quickly find GPS satellites, and even triangulate its location using just Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower data when GPS is not available (such as indoors or in basements). These calculations are performed live on the iPhone using a crowd-sourced database of Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower data that is generated by tens of millions of iPhones sending the geo-tagged locations of nearby Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers in an anonymous and encrypted form to Apple.

    4. Is this crowd-sourced database stored on the iPhone?
    The entire crowd-sourced database is too big to store on an iPhone, so we download an appropriate subset (cache) onto each iPhone. This cache is protected but not encrypted, and is backed up in iTunes whenever you back up your iPhone. The backup is encrypted or not, depending on the user settings in iTunes. The location data that researchers are seeing on the iPhone is not the past or present location of the iPhone, but rather the locations of Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers surrounding the iPhone's location, which can be more than one hundred miles away from the iPhone. We plan to cease backing up this cache in a software update coming soon (see Software Update section below).

    5. Can Apple locate me based on my geo-tagged Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower data?
    No. This data is sent to Apple in an anonymous and encrypted form. Apple cannot identify the source of this data.

    6. People have identified up to a year's worth of location data being stored on the iPhone. Why does my iPhone need so much data in order to assist it in finding my location today?
    This data is not the iPhone's location data-it is a subset (cache) of the crowd-sourced Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower database which is downloaded from Apple into the iPhone to assist the iPhone in rapidly and accurately calculating location. The reason the iPhone stores so much data is a bug we uncovered and plan to fix shortly (see Software Update section below). We don't think the iPhone needs to store more than seven days of this data.

    7. When I turn off Location Services, why does my iPhone sometimes continue updating its Wi-Fi and cell tower data from Apple's crowd-sourced database?
    It shouldn't. This is a bug, which we plan to fix shortly (see Software Update section below).

    8. What other location data is Apple collecting from the iPhone besides crowd-sourced Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower data?
    Apple is now collecting anonymous traffic data to build a crowd-sourced traffic database with the goal of providing iPhone users an improved traffic service in the next couple of years.

    9. Does Apple currently provide any data collected from iPhones to third parties?
    We provide anonymous crash logs from users that have opted in to third-party developers to help them debug their apps. Our iAds advertising system can use location as a factor in targeting ads. Location is not shared with any third party or ad unless the user explicitly approves giving the current location to the current ad (for example, to request the ad locate the Target store nearest them).

    10. Does Apple believe that personal information security and privacy are important?
    Yes, we strongly do. For example, iPhone was the first to ask users to give their permission for each and every app that wanted to use location. Apple will continue to be one of the leaders in strengthening personal information security and privacy.

    Software Update

    Sometime in the next few weeks Apple will release a free iOS software update that:

    reduces the size of the crowd-sourced Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower database cached on the iPhone,
    ceases backing up this cache, and
    deletes this cache entirely when Location Services is turned off.

    In the next major iOS software release the cache will also be encrypted on the iPhone.
    Source: Apple

  2. #2
    iPhone? More like MyPhone
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    Good god! The way Apple responds makes us look the idiots!

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    caffe1nated (04-27-2011), Jahooba (04-27-2011), Joserrrr (04-27-2011)

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    My iPhone is a Part of Me TheDirtyDiddler's Avatar
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    Most people would never have seen this as that big of a deal if they weren't constantly reading about it and consequently convincing themselves that it was. Some of these concepts are actually decent ones.

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    What's Jailbreak?
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    Default lol
    I like how its called a bug now

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    Livin the iPhone Life steve-z17's Avatar
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    Apple wasn't doing anything wrong here, the media just made a huge deal about it so Apple had to say something about it. Obviously they don't need to store so much of the data and back it up to the computer, but outside of that I think being able to see where I've been is pretty cool.

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    Green Apple spamsalad's Avatar
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    Why the fuss? There is far more important data on your smartphone other than you were in Starbucks on Monday morning at 7.04. Your network actively tracks you 24/7 and asks your device to send this info back whenever it is switched on. Get over it.

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    iPhone? More like MyPhone norfskate's Avatar
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    Heeeadin ged :-)

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    Green Apple
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    And I am sure Jobsy is more and more pissed at jailbreakers now, as if there wasn't for JB probably no one would catch this! HAHAHA

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    Go <*))))>< The Man of Sand's Avatar
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    Now all that needs to happen is Steve Jobs gets accused of breaking the bill of rights on national television and he says he's not a crook.

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    My iPhone is a Part of Me coolguy742's Avatar
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    I thought I saw some pigs flying over this morning! Hahaha but I'm glad that Apple us actually handling this really well for once (even though they say they weren't technically tracking us lol)


    Sent from my iPod touch using ModMyi

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    Green Apple
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    If a loved one came up missing and apple was able to tell the authorities where they were last at from their phone and they found them people would praise apple!

    I don't see the big deal!

  15. #12
    My iPhone is a Part of Me coolguy742's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Man of Sand View Post
    Now all that needs to happen is Steve Jobs gets accused of breaking the bill of rights on national television and he says he's not a crook.
    He'll yeah!


    Sent from my iPod touch using ModMyi

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    Formerly Known As rpgpromaster EddieLeonard's Avatar
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    apple doing what they do best! avoiding the bullet!
    Last edited by EddieLeonard; 04-27-2011 at 10:10 AM.
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    Livin the iPhone Life
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    Apple isn't admitting to anything. This is nothing but damage control in the wake of them getting busted and it making national news. Now they are back-pedaling and calling it a "bug"? Please.

    Why didn't Apple post the answer to Question #3 when this whole thing first sprouted up? Was that such a hard explanation to give to begin with?

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    iPhone? More like MyPhone
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    Quote Originally Posted by iliveudie View Post
    Good god! The way Apple responds makes us look the idiots!
    Quite the contrary. They are reacting to a big big big blunder of their part. The correct option would have been for this to have never appeared as an issue, that is for apple to have programmed their database cache to be reasonable, and not the way it currently is.

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    Starbucks Artist mmaboi21's Avatar
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    Haha a bug...

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    So it looks like the iPhone 2G and 3G are about to get new updates too.
    They better or there is still a chance of a lawsuit as they both still send data with their current and only firmware.

  21. #18
    What's Jailbreak? ShredNasty's Avatar
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    Motherf*ck an Apple fix! Dev team, activate!
    iPhone 4 to Android directly back to iPhone 4. I learned my lesson and will never leave iOS again.

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    iPhoneaholic Nickaroni22's Avatar
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    This whole subject is a two edged sword. Typical media nonsense blowing something completely out of proportion, though.

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    The One and the Only (retired secret moderator) iPod's Avatar
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    Quote: "Sometime in the next few weeks Apple will release a free iOS software update that:

    reduces the size of the crowd-sourced Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower database cached on the iPhone,
    ceases backing up this cache, and
    deletes this cache entirely when Location Services is turned off.

    In the next major iOS software release the cache will also be encrypted on the iPhone."

    Also the update will unjailbreak and possibly patch your idevice. Oh apple...

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